AYS Daily Digest 11/07/17: “Cutting the legs of solidarity outside the official camps”

Suffering of civilians in Iraq in the midst of liberation / Italy — a young man died because his pain was ignored by medical staff | Greece — worries grow over state taking over the island camps | Bulgaria — poor conditions in Bulgaria leave open questions on finances | France — evacuation of a small camp in the north | Busy day for NGOs saving lives at the Mediterranean

The morning after the fire... (Photo by مهاجر immigrant)

A 24-year old man from Ivory Coast, Ibrahim, died because of medical maltreatment and being ignored by several doctors and pharmacists. The mayor of Napoli, the southern Italian city where this happened, said it is very likely somebody will have to answer for the victim’s death.

However, the volunteer medical team and other sources speak of the poor practice present in Italy as well as neglect of refugees’ rights when it comes to health care, especially in the recent weeks as the number of new arrivals continues to grow.

Two full buses were directed from Ventimiglia to the hotspot in Taranto last Sunday, Italian volunteers of Progetto20k say. As pressure along the border area with France grows stronger, more and more people are being taken off trains and buses, sent back, and reportedly even sent off to detention centres, from which they are destined for deportation.

Pressure from officials continues, calling to place all the young people staying out in the streets and other open spaces into the Red Cross reception centre. Although its facilities are closed to the full and common life of women, children and men are part of this official plan. No tolerance is expected from officials for those outside the official CRI centres, as they say they will be “cutting the legs of solidarity outside the Red Cross centres.”

A recent IOM infographic. (Photo by International Organization for Migrants)


Today was the first day since June 30th that more than 100 people were registered arriving on the islands.

73 people were registered today on Lesbos, 26 on Samos, and 73 on other Greek Aegean islands, making for a total of 172 people whose arrival has been registered by Greek officials.

In other news, a petition as a call for solidarity with those on a hunger strike in Moria was started. You can sign it here.

Around 400 people arrived on Lesbos in the first 10 days of July. According to data from the Northern Aegean General Police Directorate on the islands, there were 9,634 registered refugees and migrants who had applied for asylum staying on the islands: 4,145 of them are located on Lesbos, 3,516 on Chios, and 1,973 on Samos.

The situation in the camps is reportedly poor, especially in Moria, a camp that now houses more than 3,000 people. The number of people currently staying in Moria exceeds the camp’s capacity by approximately 40%

“Yesterday, a fire broke out in Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. Residents were protesting the abysmal conditions in the camp when the fires started. No injuries have been reported. Well over 1,000 people have now fled the camp. Some of whom are currently being housed in a warehouse on the island.” — Help Refugees

Information from the ground indicates there is now a backlog in vulnerability assessments on both Chios and Lesbos, as well as a dire lack of primary health care, IRC stated.

An additional 6.48 million Euros in emergency assistance to improve reception conditions in accommodation centres on the Greek islands of Lesbos (Kara Tepe) and Chios (Souda) were announced by the EC yesterday.

However, deterioration of living conditions and diminished access to essential services, as well as general lack of a clear plan are some of the concerns among the NGOs that are working to support the refugees and asylum seekers, with the help of the EC funds. These are also among the reasons why seven top NGOs aiding refugees in Greece have issued a joint statement expressing their concerns over the handover of responsibilities at migrant camps on the Greek islands to the government as of August 1.

“ (…) to date, no national response plan has been released, and information about how the transition will be implemented is severely lacking. Without a clear transition plan, gaps in services will likely occur, and men, women and children may be put at greater risk, without the health, legal and other services and safety they need and have the right to.

Any gaps in services caused by an uncoordinated transition would impact the health and well-being of thousands of already vulnerable people. It is therefore critical to learn from the lessons of the past years of this response and avoid a foreseeable humanitarian emergency.” — from the joint statement. Read their demands here.

Nurture Project International team is urgently looking for an Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Coordinator for Thessaloniki to start ASAP for a minimum six week commitment.
Demanded skills are: Lactation consultant, trained breastfeeding supporter, certified breastfeeding peer counsellor, IBCLC, infant nutrition specialist
For more details, conditions and applying, please contact NPI directly:

The TruckShop warehouse in Thessaloniki has been emptied in the past week and will no longer be running and the team will not work there as they concluded the situation from the perspective they were active in has changed much for the better. They thank everyone who has helped coordinate or transport donations from their warehouse to other places where it’s needed.


The European Commission said they awarded an additional 1.22 million euro in emergency assistance to support the UNHCR activities in Bulgaria “to help improve reception conditions and the protection environment of asylum seekers and refugees”. That brings the total emergency assistance for migrant and border management in Bulgaria to 170 million euro — on top of the 91 million euro allocated to Bulgaria under the national programmes for the period 2014–2020. We are currently waiting for news and details from the ground regarding the situation and the concrete situation regarding the funding and activities mentioned in the projects’ descriptions by the organizations.


Total arrivals (1 Jan — 09 Jul 2017): 84,973
Total arrivals (1 Jan — 09 Jul 2016): 77,541
Total arrivals 1 Jul — 09 Jul 2017 1,445
Total arrivals 1 Jul — 09 Jul 2016 7,319
Average daily arrivals in July 2017 so far: 161
Average daily arrivals in June 2017: 777 Dead and missing in 2017 (as of 09 Jul) 2,174

Accoglienza Degna runs a social dormitory inside an occupied building in Bologna, which has housed over 40 refugees since the project began. As well as providing housing, the project has an immigration desk which helps guests with issues around documentation, healthcare and other needs relating to their intergration in Italy. There is also an Italian school which provides lessons to more than 50 people.

The aim of the summer camp is to renovate existing areas and new rooms so that Accoglienza Degna can help and house more refugees in need. Accommodation and food for the summer camp will cost only 5 euro a day and there will be talks and workshops about the refugee situation in Italy, which is very different that elsewhere in Europe.

Volunteers must speak Italian, English or Spanish to a good standard and whilst carpentry and plumbing skills are desirable but not a compulsory; a good attitude is the most important thing!

More information can be found here.


Photo: Help Refugees

The refugee camp in Steenvoorde, near the A25 motorway, was evacuated on Tuesday morning. The people who were staying there were brought CAO, the Northern Prefecture said in a statement. 50 adult men, 7 women and 8 unaccompanied minors were staying in the provisional camp, and have now been “invited to join the centres” (the adults), while the minors were taken in charge by a reception and in the Pas-de-Calais region department, in the framework of child protection, according to the prefecture.

The first dismantling of this small camp adjacent to a service station where refugees were trying to get into heavy truck trailers had already taken place in July 2016, solidarity volunteers point out.

“Curiously, exactly one year later, we find ourselves there for the same operation.
We should rather look for another solution”.
— Damien Defrance, Terre d’errance


A hunger strike is ongoing in Amsterdam, with the aim to direct the attention to the problem of Syrians in Lebanon.


“ Due to serious technical problems we had to stop our mission with the Sea-Watch 2. Our friends ProActiva OpenArms brought us safely back to Malta. Just this morning we received the message that all NGO ships in the SAR zone are involved in ongoing operations.” . Sea Watch

Spanish criticize the decisions and acting of their Minister of Interior. A photo journalist speaks of his experience on the sea and concrete thoughts on the politics regarding life saving in the Mediterranean in this interview


The liberation of Mosul from ISIS came at a horrific cost for its civilians — families were prevented from leaving Mosul, with ISIS using them as human shields, while the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition used imprecise, explosive weapons which killed thousands.
In Mosul alone, 790 000 have been displaced by fighting, and are now lacking food, water, medicine and basic shelter. Thousands of men and boys fleeing ISIS-held territory are subject to arbitrary detention, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, and it is clear that the road to reconciliation in Iraq will be a long one.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground, so let us know if something you read here is not right.

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Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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